Maple Leafs' John Tavares out minimum three weeks with oblique strain

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe discusses captain John Tavares' oblique strain that will keep him out for a minimum of three weeks.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares will be out of the lineup for at least three weeks due to an oblique strain, head coach Sheldon Keefe announced.

Tavares skated 17:14 and had one shot on goal in a pre-season game against the Senators on Saturday but was ruled out of practice Tuesday.

"He's been dealing with something since the game the other night, he thought it was pretty minor, but they had some further tests later today... and it's come back with an oblique strain that's going to keep him out a minimum of three weeks," Keefe said. "For the remainder of the camp (there's) additional opportunities for guys to step up to fill in that space. Obviously, you're not going to replace John but it does create an extra opportunity for us to look at others and others to step up and to take advantage of that opportunity."

Tavares, who just turned 32, played 79 games last season, registering 27 goals and 76 points. He has dealt with an oblique injury before, in May of 2019, and that injury took one month to recover from.

The Maple Leafs are dealing with a list of injuries just one week into training camp, with Pierre Engvall (foot), Adam Gaudette (shoulder), Timothy Liljegren (hernia) and Jake Muzzin (back) all missing some time early on.

The Maple Leafs resume their pre-season schedule Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens. Puck drop on Sportsnet ONE and SN NOW is at 7 p.m.

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